I found my first grey hair this past week. It was very traumatic.
I have not received much sympathy. My class, all being older than me, laughed at my distress and told me to suck it up or dye it out and just shut up. My mother told me I was so funny and as I despaired to my father how my wasted and misspent youth had given up on me and was draining away now on a downhill slope to death he rolled his eyes and asked if he was due to hear melodramatic updates every day now?
Vinnie tried to make me believe I was deluded and these grey hairs I saw simply didn’t exist. It was kind of him to try. He deserved a nice dinner for that.
We’ve covered the further butchery required for ballotines/galantines in the past couple of weeks and knowing that I had a guinea fowl sitting pretty in the freezer, I wanted to get ahead on practice. I have yet to make the perfect round in the middle, but I’m still happy with the results. I suppose one could ask the butcher to bone out their entire bird, I haven’t dared ask personally simply because I know this is something that requires attention and is probably not the first thing a busy butcher wants to take a break from a queue of customers to do.
I stuffed this ballotine with the dark meat and prunes, processed and sieved to make it finer, and a small addition of a few dried herbs and breadcrumbs. It was then poached and the skin crisped in the pan for dinner.
Preparation Time: Anything from 10 minutes to 45 minutes to bone the bird depending on your experience, another 15 minutes to assemble and make the filling.
Cooking Time: 20 minutes poaching, ten minutes in a pan.
- 1 guinea fowl
- 25g bread crumbs
- 20g prunes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 beaten egg
- Using a boning knife, bone out the guinea fowl. I would not recommend doing this unless you do have a decent, sharp, appropriate knife. Because I’m awful at giving this kind of direction in words, I’ve found a video to help you. This video shows a chicken being boned, a guinea fowl is much the same process but be prepared for a longer, blade-like breastbone. You can keep the carcass and the wing pinions for a stock and add port to the reduction for a lovely sauce.
- Gently peel the meat off the skin, seperating the white and the dark meat. Place the skin, seasoned and stretched into a rectangle on a piece of clingfilm.
- Bash the breasts between greaseproof paper with a rolling pin until about 1/2 cm thick. Lay them out to form a rectangle on the skin. You can cut pieces off and place them elsewhere – the breasts do not need to stay intact but a firm rectangle must be made.
- To make the stuffing, remove obvious sinews from the dark meat and place in the food processor with the prunes. Whiz up, adding the beaten egg slowly. Do not draw this process out – once the meat warms up in the machine it starts to release proteins which makes it all very sticky. Ideally keep the bowl and blade of the processor in the fridge beforehand.
- Place a fine sieve over a bowl and, one tablespoon at a time, push the mixture through it to make it as smooth as possible, discard anything that isn’t going through. Mix the breadcrumbs and the herbs into the sieved mixture. Spread or pipe this down the centre of the rectangle of white meat. Season.
- Using the cling film to guide, roll up the guine fowl tightly. Trim any great overlap – any overlap will not cook at the same rate as the rest of the ballotine. Wrap the clingfilmed bird in foil and secure with string. Heat up some simmering salted water and poach the bird for 20 minutes.
- You can leave to cool at this stage to heat through when ready to serve or leave to cool for about fifteen minutes and remove the cling film and foil, secure the balloting with string and heat up butter and oil in a pan. Fry the ballotine to crisp up the skin and warm through. It will not need a long rest afterwards seeing as it is already cooked, but do let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.